LDST 250-01/02: SPRING 2021
Dr. Kristin M.S. Bezio Office Hours: Sign up for appointments online at Office Phone: 804-287-6045
Office: Jepson Hall 135

The goal of this course is to help students develop critical thinking skills and provide an introduction to methods of research inquiry. In a society inundated with information from modern media – television, radio, movies, news, and the internet – it is crucial that we as responsible citizens be able to distinguish the good information from the bad, the truth from falsehood. Leaders are frequently required to make judgments about topics and in situations they know little about – critical thinking skills help them to assess what information they have in order to make good judgments about people, information, and ideas. It is also important for us – whether we are leaders, followers, or both – to be able to view the information and opinions with which we are presented from multiple standpoints, and to be able to assess and judge what we see and hear in context and with regard to our own ethics and mores. As members of a university, national, and global community, it is our responsibility to question not only what appears in the media, but the ideals and ideologies we already hold; as critical thinkers, it is important for us to bring these critical skills to bear not only in our examination of leadership and on the leaders we have chosen to follow, but also in our efforts to maintain life-long learning.

In this course, students will learn the following skills:
– How to critically read, listen, and observe
– How to evaluate information and locate bias
– How to analyze arguments and systems
– How to anticipate problems and counterarguments
– How to construct an analytical and well-researched argument in writing and in speech
– How to reflect on their own views and biases

There are no books required for this course. Instead, you will be given access to a variety of articles and chapters on BlackBoard. Research shows that hard copy reading is more likely to “stick,” so I strongly recommend you print out and keep all your readings in a binder (or two). It also makes it much easier to take notes in the readings or find things later.